Bugs is living in a 1940s Modernist house. While relaxing by his pool, he gets a call from the "Disassociated Press" stating that the public demands his life story. Over the phone, Bugs recounts his rise to fame.
Bugs relates that, while in the nursery immediately after he was born, he comes to the startling realization that he was "a rabbit in a human world." By the time he begins to walk, he shows an impressive talent for entertainment by successfully playing the "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" by Franz Liszt on his toy piano.
Early in Bugs' career, there is a gag repeated several times, in which there is a sign marquee featuring three of Bugs' Broadway appearances, Girl of the Golden Vest, Wearing of the Grin, and Rosie's Cheeks. Music starts, the curtain rises, and Bugs Bunny and the Chorus Boys walk on stage, singing and dancing, "Oh we're the boys of the chorus/We hope you like our show/We know you're rooting for us/but now we have to go."
Years later, he decides to take an ballet academically and eventually becomes the star pupil. After graduation, Bugs begins to pursue a professional career as a Broadway star, which he eventually threw out the script to Life with Father proclaiming it would never be a hit, but only manages to be a chorus boy in three productions: Girl of the Golden Vest, Wearing of the Grin, and Rosie's Cheeks. In all of the shows, he and the chorus sing the same song, "Oh! We're the boys of the chorus. We hope you like our show. We know you're rootin' for us. But, now we have to go."
After the performance, he is eventually approached by a producer of an unnamed show. The show's star has become ill, and the producer wants Bugs to take his place. He agrees, but the audience is unimpressed by his performance and he's eventually hooked off stage. Angered at the prospect of resuming work as a chorus boy, Bugs quits show business until he's offered the "right part."
That winter, Bugs confines himself to a bench in Central Park, which he is also with a few other out of work actors, that are caricatures of Al Jolson, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, and Bing Crosby.
One night, Jolson spots Elmer Fudd, a big vaudeville star, walking around central park, and tells the others that Elmer is looking for a partner. The four do their trademark phrases/songs, but Elmer ignores them. When he reaches Bugs, he recognizes him and says, "Why are you hanging around these guys? They'll never amount to anything." He eventually offers him a role as his sidekick in his vaudeville act. Bugs accepts, and the two embark on a nationwide tour.
The act consists of Elmer telling a joke to Bugs and then physically delivering the punchline to him. After several performances, Bugs gets tired of the act, and decides to change the routine. So when Elmer sets up the joke, Bugs delivers the punchline, just as physically as Elmer had, and dances off-stage.
Elmer is infuriated with Bugs and, pointing his rifle at him, making him back the rabbit all the way back onstage, causing Bugs to get scared with Elmer and nervously say, "Eh, what's up, Doc?" The audience begins laughing and applauding to the act.
The two eventually get surprised with this, and Bug then suggests Elmer that they may have a new gimmick for the act and says, "Let's do it again." They do, and receive the same positive audience response, making Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd continue the act and later adopt their well-known hunter vs. hare formula, which Bugs wins repeatedly.
Afterwards, fan mail and offers were pouring in, and the two of them attract the attention of Warner Bros. to which Elmer and Bugs pass a screen test in which they perform the title musical number, and the studio signs them on as film stars.
The story eventually reverts to the present day as Bugs looks at his watch and notices that he is late to the set to begin filming for his first role, in a film that was written with him in mind. At the filming, it's revealed that the part is chorus boy yet again.
- In the sequence where Bugs is in the traveling vaudeville show with Elmer and decides to come up with a new act so he won't be made a fool like he was in the previous scenes, the version that aired on ABC cut a slightly risqué joke between Elmer and Bugs (Elmer: "Hey, pinhead! You know how to make antifweeze?" Bugs: "Yeah. Hide her nightgown!") and the part where Elmer holds a rifle to Bugs' mouth after Bugs upstages him. This was also cut when it aired on The WB.
- The CBS version left in the "antifreeze" joke, but cut the part after that where Bugs slams a pie in Elmer's face, sprays him with seltzer, and whomps him with a mallet before jumping out of his clown suit and shuffling offstage and the part where Elmer holds a rifle to Bugs' mouth.
- This cartoon was produced in 1949 but was released in 1950, in order to celebrate Bugs Bunny's tenth birthday that year.
- This cartoon was used in Bugs Bunny's Mad World of Television, but only up until Elmer wants Bugs to be his show biz partner.
- The lyrics of the song "What's Up, Doc?" are sung for the first time. The song's tune had been first used a few years earlier, usually over the title credits of other Bugs Bunny cartoons.
- One year later saw Porky Pig in a picture titled "The Wearing of the Grin", which was one of the titles on the fake marquee.
- There is a gag that is repeated several times, in which there is a sign marquee featuring three of Bugs' Broadway appearances (Girl of the Golden Vest, Wearing of the Grin, and Rosie's Cheeks). This repetitive gag is similar to one used in Gene Kelly's musical Singin' in the Rain.
- A gag in this short shows Bugs throwing away many scripts he's considered, one of them being Life with Father, being not so good, as Bugs predicts: "Eh, this will never be a hit!" Although, in reality, the play was actually a big success, with over 3,000 performances and a rather lengthy run (from 1939 to 1947), making it the longest-running non-musical on Broadway so far. Warner Bros. made it into a film of the same year when the play ended.
- Bugs' classic catchphrase is shown in this film to have been originally an accident. It came from Bugs after he pied Elmer in the face and bonked him on the head with a mallet during their burlesque, when it was suppose to be the other way around.
- The young Bugs plays Franz Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" on a piano. He previously made a reference to Liszt in "Rhapsody Rabbit", and would make another one in "My Dream Is Yours".
- The title cards of 'Buffalo' and 'New York' both contain relevant musical allusions to the Warner Brothers musical film 42nd Street (1933) with tunes from the songs "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" and "Forty-Second Street" respectively.
- This is the first Robert McKimson-directed Bugs Bunny cartoon since "Acrobatty Bunny" (1946) to re-use the modern design which McKimson first did for the Bob Clampett unit back in 1943, as opposed to using the "plump Bugs" design which McKimson previously used from "Easter Yeggs" (1947) up until "Hurdy-Gurdy Hare" (1950).
- This short plays in PAL audio when shown on Cartoon Network and Boomerang.
- The working title was "Hare's My Story".
- What's Up Doc? at SuperCartoons.net
- What's Up Doc? at B99.TV
- Watch What's Up Doc? on 220.ro
- What's Up Doc? at the Internet Movie Database
- Baxter's Breakdowns - What's Up Doc? animator breakdown at Cartoon Research
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